GRATITUDE

James Smith, 1859
 

Nothing is more graceful or befitting in us, as believers in Jesus Christ, than gratitude. Oh, how much we have to be grateful for! Whether we look back at the past, or forward to the futureówhat cause for praise. The Lord has dealt well with us, according to his word. If we look within, there is God's work, preparing us for glory; or if we look up to heaven, there is God's Son, preparing glory for us. Behind us is the disgrace, the dunghill, and the horrible pit, from which we have escaped; and before us is the honor, the mansion, and the happy home, which we shall soon possess. My heart is moved, my soul heaves with delightful emotions, and no words can express my feelings better than those of David, "Now therefore, O God, we thank you, and praise your glorious name." 1 Chron. 29:13.

David was grateful for peace. He had been a man of war. He had shed much blood. He had been familiar with the sword from his youth. He had fought with strangers, he knew what it was for his own people to rise up against him. But now, in his old age, all was peace. His sun appeared to be going down in a cloudless sky. He was near home, and had a glorious home to go to.

Such is my privilege at present, I have peace. Peace with God through faith in his Son. Peace in the church, through forbearance and love. Peace within, and peace without. How sweet is peace. Well may the Apostle exhort us, "Follow peace with all men." And yet some men, some professors, do not appear to love peace. How can they be the sons of the God of peace, who has said, "If it is possible, live peaceably with all men!"

David was grateful for liberality. He had largely prepared for the building of the Temple, he had given much, and had given heartily, and it made him happy. His princes and his people were liberal too, and his heart overflowed with joy. To see such love to God's house, and such zeal in God's cause, kindled a flame in his heart, which led him to exclaim, "Now therefore, O God, we thank you and praise your glorious name."

Nor only soóbut he had bright and soul-elevating views of God, which filled him with an intense desire to praise and glorify him. "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness." The greatness of God is a source of joy and rejoicing to the believer, because God in all his greatness is his. Besides which, if God is greatóthen his mercy is great, his power is great, his grace is great, and his love is great; and the great mercy, power, grace, and love of the great God, is enough to make the greatest sinner happy and holy! "Yours, O Lord, are the riches, "for all that is in the heaven, and in the earth is yours."

God is the great proprietor. He may lease out his property to is creaturesóbut he still holds the right to claim, and dispose of it as he pleases. All his vast wealth is made over to his people in his Son, and they are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. When they are of age they will come into possession, and then "the meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace." And until then, he will supply all their needs, meet all their wants, and act toward them as a Father and a Friend.

In addition to this, he is Supreme. "Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all." He is the ever present, ever active ruleróin the world, and in the church. He is above every enemy, and will over-rule all that occurs for the good of his people and the glory of his great name.

O what cause for gratitude and praise, to have Jehovah for our God, and to know that his greatness and his grace, his riches and his sympathy, his supremacy and his power, all combine to secure our best interests, and to satisfy our longing souls!

The gratitude of David was deep. It welled up from the depths of his soul. It dwelt deep in his heart, when it did not rise to the surface and overflow.

It was sincere. There was no pretense. Nothing was put on for the occasion. He deeply felt God's goodness, and therefore he gave utterance to glowing words.

It was befitting. It befits the just to he thankful. Praise is lovely for the upright. Beloved, if any have cause for deep and sincere gratitudeówe have! David praised God for ability to help his cause, for an opportunity to do so, and for a willing heart to contribute of his substance largely and cheerfully. Many are furnished with the means of doing goodóbut they have not the heart; others have the heartóbut they have not the meansóbut here was both. O what a privilege to be allowed to help in God's cause, to be willing to deny ourselves to give to his poor, to have the means, the opportunity, and the disposition, thus to serve God!

"We praise your glorious name!" From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised. To praise his name, is to celebrate his grace. That grace which he has so variously, and so richly displayed in our experience. To praise his name, is to publish his condescension. His wonderful condescension in choosing such poor worms, in adopting such miserable creatures, in using such wretched instruments, and thus honoring such utterly unworthy beings. To praise his name, is to speak of his work, the wisdom displayed, the skill manifested, and the perfection stamped upon it. His work within us. His work for us. His work by us. Let us then praise his glorious name, his glorious grace, his glorious condescension, and his glorious work.

Let us be thankful, and to increase our thankfulness, let us think of our faults, our follies, and our transgressions. Notwithstanding these, God has wrought for us, in us, and by us, and the best we can do is gratefully to exclaim, "Now therefore, O God, we thank you, and praise your glorious name!"

Let us be hopeful, for the Lord who has done so much for usówill do more. He who has begunówill complete the work. Yes, we are warranted to say, "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O Lord, endures forever."

Let us be prayerful, and having received so muchólet us ask for more; especially for more grace, and a fuller supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. O God, there is nothing that your church needs, so much as your Spirit! "Will you not pour down the Spirit upon us from on high, and so fill us with the Holy Spirit and with power, to the praise of your glorious grace! O Holy Spirit, come in the fullness of your power, with all your gifts, and grace into your Church, and fire it with holy zeal, fill it with profound gratitude, and make it a universal blessing!"